By the time this column appears, perhaps Tom McClintock will have shut down his campaign and instructed his supporters to vote for Arnold. The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll put an end to the always very-far-fetched notion that Tom was competitive, and not even millions in independent expenditures from the slot machines can put Tom within 10 points of winning.
But I suspect he will stay his course for reasons that will remain a subject of speculation for years to come. What matters now is not Tom’s intentions, but the electorate’s. Here are the implications of a vote for Tom:
A vote for Tom is a vote for Bill Clinton. The disgraced former president is developing a mythology about his presidency. Clinton argues his problems were the result of the far right wing, not of generalized disgust at his misuse of the office and breaking of his oath. Clinton came west to sell his mythology via joint appearances with Gray. The boy from Arkansas kept intoning that the far right was after Gray. If Arnold achieves a huge vote total, especially if he breaks 50 percent, the idea that a narrow plurality brought Davis down would be ended before it began. Votes for Tom undermine the case against Gray by lowering the total votes cast for the replacement.
A vote for Tom is a vote for Cruz. Although Arnold appears to be comfortably ahead in the latest polls, I fully expect the Mulholland sleaze patrol to drop a few stink bombs beginning Friday, and maybe even Thursday. The press will use the occasion to speculate that Arnold is wounded and fading fast. If Cruz rallies the lefties, it could still get close enough that a Tom vote is in effect a Cruz vote. A few voices have argued that it is better for the GOP to lose the effort to oust Gray than get stuck holding Gray’s bag. But no one can argue it is a good thing to replace Gray with Cruz, who could then blame Gray for the disasters all around while jamming through massive new tax hikes with his mandate for “tough love.”
A vote for Tom is a vote for gambling money’s domination of state politics. Tom has raised very little money relative to all other serious candidates. His double digits are owed completely to the house take from the banks of slot machines sprouting up across California. A vote for Tom is a validation of the tribes’ strategy to play by any set of rules that advances their narrow interests.
A vote for Tom is a vote for the Los Angeles Times. The lefty Tammany Times hates Arnold for reasons having to do with the editors’ understanding what damage Arnold can do to their collective dream of a neosocialist California. They want his mandate kept to a minimum.
Finally, a vote for Tom is a vote for Terry McAuliffe. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee first promised there would be no big name Democrat running on question 2. Now he’s promising that a Democrat will be governor on Oct. 8. McAuliffe is counting on Tom voters to pull this out for the Democrats and, crucially, for his own reputation. Already held in low esteem by most of his party colleagues, if McAuliffe loses California after losing Florida and then New York City, it doesn’t take much imagination to see a revolt forcing this Clinton Kool-Aid drinker to step aside.
So there are five reasons to vote for Tom McClintock. Every Democrat in the state and the country is hoping you do. They are counting on Republicans being dupes again.
The numbers look very bleak for GrayCruzBillTerry and the TribesTimes. But Tom can still pull it out for them – with your help.